Kevention 2009/the 4th Tunbridge Wells Juggling Festival

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The Official Kevention 2009 video

It all started with...

The Erection


It has become very clear to me that I am NEVER going to live this one down.

So word went out that we needed some willing hands to put up an 80ft big top on the Saturday before we were to go have the festival. "Brilliant!", I thought, "I've never erected a big top before this should be fun".

We arrived shortly after Kevin & surveyed the site which at the time consisted of a field containing a trailer with the big top components & a beautiful herd (or pace) of donkeys which we cooed over for quite some time until the rest of the team turned up. The rest of the team being Cat, Karina, Paul, Louisa (not Laura) & Frag. Then we cooed over the donkeys some more.

Directing us in the construction were the big top owner Roy & two of his guys. Everything started so well, we herded the donkeys into another field. The layout of the top was already marked out on the ground, so we laid all the smaller parts in position as required. The 2 king poles each came in two sections & slotted together like a regular tent pole. However these poles were made of solid steel, were approximately eight inches in diameter & many many feet long. Each of the sections were lifted off the trailer by forklift then handled by two people on each end.

We got both of the poles assembled & as we placed one of the poles down on the ground in position I think I felt, but may have heard, something snap like a rubber band in my back. I'm quite a poppy person & I'm very aware of all the joints in my body that pop but this was a new one to me & I immediately knew it was bad. I cautiously experimented with trying to find what positions were comfortable & how I could move, & unfortunately my options were few. So I lay down for a bit hoping it would pass. Sadly it didn't so I thought it best to get out of the way of the construction. I stood up with the intention of sitting in my car for a bit.

I remember saying that I felt dizzy. Then I remember a lot of worried faces all looking at me. Nicky told me that I passed out. Naturally, I disagreed. Naturally again I was told to be quiet & just lay down. While I kept quiet I acknowledged two things: 1, I couldn't remember laying down in the first place. 2, An ambulance turned up bloody quickly. The consensus is that I turned grey then passed out into Nicky's arms.

Sue & Phil from the ambulance service were absolutely fantastic. They took excellent care of me, put me at ease & took me to A&E at the Kent & Sussex hospital. The doctor gave me a good prodding & a talk of doom, although I was told I didn't have any structural damage I was very worried that I was going to be laid up for weeks with an injury that would affect me forever more. At this point it was looking highly likely that I wouldn't make the Kevention...

Kevention Take 2 (The Actual Festival)

5-September-2009 to 6-September-2009

...but I did!!!

By actually following my doctors' advice for once & with the help of Nicky & my family I was fit enough to attend. We returned to site around 10.00 ish on Saturday morning to find Kevin, the Colyer Horde, Simon, Beth, Luke, Matthew, Paul & Louisa (not Laura) had kicked things off on Friday night. Most people greeted me by lying down on the floor.

Laurence arrived then promptly lost his glasses.

Most of the SJC (abbreviation etc.) crew arrived in the morning with Steve, Amie, Rob & Jack leading the way. Bungle, Emily & Chunk made a typically low key entrance to the festival with Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries blaring & the SJC flag flying from his car. SJC Paul didn't make it in until the afternoon because he was at the salon having his hair done. Paul heroically took more than his hair er, fair share of teasing as a result.

Glyn overcame some car troubles after a bit of percussive maintenance with a hammer, the Kinder, Leech & Barass families, Frag, Max & their respective sprogs all turned up throughout the day too.

The Site

Quite a bit of work had been done on site since I last saw it. The biggest change being the fully assembled big top, which was immense, bigger than some of the tops we've seen at BJCs. We also had a very posh 'rest room' trailer with all the mod cons & wicker baskets. Our Paul went above & beyond by rigging all sorts of lights for the top, plus sourcing a hot water urn & sorting out the rest of the tea & coffee making facilities which was such a fantastic convenience that it really didn't feel like a camping convention. Dave K provided the sound system & Cat provided the mp3 library, which is now complete with added Shatner goodness. Thanks also to the very accommodating people at The Bull Inn, the nice peeps at the local Indian takeaway & the Spar we had facilities to rival many a larger convention that I have been to.

There were lots of toys on the go, Dave's Giant Jenga was very popular, there were loads of frisbees & other projectiles flying around including a six foot balloon which took about an hour to inflate & made playing giant jenga interesting as it bounced around the top. Glyn burst it & made the kids cry.

Emily & Paul make a very sweet couple.

Steve dropped his bouncing slab, & now he is the proud owner of two bouncing slabs! He was quite pleased when I showed him that if you step on the corner at the right moment you get a much better bounce.

Laurence lost his glasses.

On Saturday evening there was a mass outing to the pub, who I don't think were used to dealing with so many food orders in one go, but thanks to the bar & the bouncy castle the wait wasn't a problem at all. A number of kendama were brought along & a lot of trick swapping went on. Bungle bet I couldn't pull off oozura with a kendama while bouncing up & down. Nicky had forbidden me to play on the castle, but she was at the bar so I quickly whipped off my shoes started bouncing & managed to pull it off first go. I have never looked so cool on a child's bouncy castle.

Also looking cool was Laurence who fell asleep on the edge of the castle, so inevitably, Chunk & Rob performed a synchronised running jump to propel him into the land of the awake.

The food at the pub was a bit expensive but very good, I enjoyed a very tasty burger & Nicky had a superb steak & ale pie.

Sorry Emily

After returning from the pub we had a fantastic gladiators session. We started off with a few games where players had to stay on Kev's circus mat. Cramming almost 20 combatants on a 6 metre square made for an interesting game. I remember winning one bout without taking more than 5 steps from my starting position. We then moved off the mat & competition was pretty stiff with 5 different players regularly winning bouts. The bright spotlights around the king poles added an extra level of interest as you could position yourself to blind an opponent before striking. I feel the need to apologise again to Emily who experienced a brutal (yet unintentional) pincer strike from Glyn & myself that left her reeling.

Laurence lost his glasses.


In the evening we had a bit of a renegade sportingly hosted by Bungle. We kicked off with giving birthday girl Beth the bumps. Jack sang a Staind song, Steve did an amazing mind reading act which I'm still trying to figure out. Dave K & I spent what seemed like 20 minutes trying to do anything but we failed on everything yet people continued shouting requests, at least people seemed to enjoy the palm licking. Luke added a bit of culture to the proceedings (fighting a losing battle comes to mind) with some poetry, I liked 'Everybody wants to be just like me' best, but I think most other people preferred the sexy one.

Steve was dispensing his home made sloe gin. I'd never tried the stuff before, partly because when I think of sloes I think of fist sized fluffy slugs with muppet style ping pong ball eyes, but that's a different issue. There were a few flavours on offer, my favourite was the one with added cloves.

Matt did some very nice contact stuff. There was a game of 4 ball concentration which Simon won with an impressive performance notable for him flinching wildly EVERY time he was hit by a ball. A brief 4 club singles endurance ended with the losers receiving dead legs. The Southend lot are a very different club compared to us at Royal Tunbridge Wells. This was further proved by the enactment of a kangaroo court. It was a bit confusing for those of us not in the know but as far as I could tell Rob was accused of not playing the karate chop game correctly. Inexplicably I was part of the jury that returned the predetermined guilty verdict (so the defence speech made prior to this was merely a formality), then it was over to Judge Bungle for sentencing. The punishment was the most confusing part of the affair. Bungle declared that Rob's penance would be a shin kicking fight with Chunk, which seemed remarkably unfair seeing as Chunk was totally innocent.

Laurence lost his glasses.


People seemed up remarkably early on Sunday morning considering. Bungle was wearing pants which I thought was worth a cheer. Lots of people went up the pub for breakfast, there was lots of talk about black pudding when they came back.

The morning was a pretty lazy affair, but did include quite a bit of juggling. In the afternoon there was a half hearted unicycle ride to the pub for a drink & to bemuse the locals some more before returning to site for more juggling. I had no idea that Simon was so good on the rola bola, he demonstrated a number of very good runs of 5 clubs while in limbo.

Dave K, Simon & I worked on 3 count feed with 10 clubs. Later Dave L joined us for a pattern where 3 people do a standard 3 count feed, then both feedees run & resume with the spare juggler.

Chunk had some very good attempts at Kenswap, I can't remember the exact details, but it's a 4 ball trick & is a sequence of one round of a load of period 4 patterns all starting with a 7. Update Kenswap is 7531744173334447531744173334. Steve & Amie were doing some nice ring passing (well they couldn't do much bounce passing). Bungle enjoyed my Penguin Box. I enjoyed him referring to it as a Pigeon Box.

At the end of the afternoon we cleared up the site just leaving an empty tent which was a very sad occasion.

Final Thanks

Thanks to everyone who came along & made the event what it was. Thanks to everyone who made a donation into the collection. Well done to everyone who got up & performed on Saturday night. Massive thanks to Roy for the field, the tent, the generator, the toilets & the donkeys. Massive thanks again to Paul for all the equipment you added to the site. Massive thanks for the third time to Kevin for putting it all together. Thanks to the NHS (I still love you) for putting me back together & to Nicky for nagging me everytime it looked like I was going to do something stupid.